In Palestine, the Arab leaders have been fighting for their lost land for an extended period. From the perspective of results, we find that all their efforts and sacrifices have been wasted. They failed to achieve the target of recovering their land, but they have missed out on precious opportunities to make other kinds of progress, thereby incurring a significant loss. The present age is one of globalisation. The opportunities presenting themselves in equal measure to all are of prime importance now. Now anyone working in a modest office can avail of opportunities available the world over. Given this situation, fighting to acquire a piece of land is anachronistic and can never yield positive results.

To establish peace in the Holy Land, it is in the interests of both parties to re-plan and reassess the situation seriously and without prejudice, to take some decision to normalize the situation. However, both parties will have to adopt a realistic approach. Any condition that is not acceptable to both sides will be unrealistic and lead to an impasse state. According to Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, the only viable solution to this problem is for the Arabs to abandon all kinds of violence. At the same time, Israel should be willing to give the necessary rights to Palestinian Arabs on equal ground according to its constitution and universal human rights. A reasonable settlement can be reached through peaceful negotiation if these points are accepted.



I presented this paper at a peace conference organized by the Peres Center for Peace, Tel Aviv, on October 28, 2008 on how to achieve peace in the holy land. The theme of the conference was ‘New World, New Peace’. During my address, I explained that the Arab-Israel controversy, which started in 1948, led directly to the total disturbance of peace in the Middle East and indirectly to disturbances all over the world. This 60-year-old bloody struggle, far from solving any problems, has created grave, unsolvable problems. Now the time has finally arrived for a reassessment of the whole issue in a purely realistic manner and for a search for a new strategy that could ensure peace in the region. I also explained that, although the name of Islam has repeatedly been invoked in this campaign, there has never been any serious effort made to apply the Islamic formula to this controversial matter. I studied Islamic scriptures to discover the solution to this problem in the light of Islam, and what I have found from my study of Islam can be summed up thus: the central idea of Islamic planning is that it is based on availing existing opportunities rather than on colliding with problems. I presented this in the form of ten points, some of which are being given as follows.

What the leaders on both sides should now do is refrain from insisting on the other party agreeing to their conditions. Rather they should attach prime importance to what they must do to ensure that peace prevails in this region and how they can in consequence cause opportunities to open up for themselves. The example set by the Prophet provides us with the basic guiding principle that we should adopt in this matter.

According to the Bible, the Jews believe that Palestine is for them the ‘promised land’ (Deuteronomy 1:8). The same notion has been expressed in the Quran. The Quran tells us that the Israelites, who were living in diaspora outside Palestine during the time of the Prophet Moses, were told by Moses that it was God’s command that they should enter the Holy Land. Moses said to his people: ‘O my people! Enter the Holy Land which God has assigned to you’ (The Quran, 5:21) In this verse of the Quran the words ‘assigned to you’ is not a mysterious phrase: indeed, it describes a law of nature. That is, a community in diaspora enjoys the right to return to its original home. The Biblical term ‘promised land’ has this very meaning, and the Balfour Declaration (1917) was exactly in accordance with this law of nature, as prescribed in the Quran. In this declaration, the Jews in diaspora were given permission to return to Palestine under a limited quota system. The Arab leaders should have accepted this as a legitimate decision. But they refused to accept it and showed their strong reaction to it. This was the beginning of the present Palestinian movement. To my way of thinking, this was a very unwise decision on the part of the Arabs, because this movement proved to be counterproductive.

The argument of the Arab leaders to justify their violent movement is that the Jews are their enemies, and that fighting the enemy is but natural. This argument is certainly against the teachings of the Quran. According to the injunction of the Quran, war can be waged only against an attacker, not against an enemy. The following verse of the Quran throws light in this regard:

‘Do a good deed in return for a bad deed and then you will find that your enemy has become your dearest friend.’ (The Quran, 41:34)

According to this verse of the Quran, our enemy is our potential friend. That is why, according to Islamic teaching, what we should do is to turn the potential into the actual through dialogue or peaceful effort, rather than destroy all positive opportunities by unnecessarily waging war.

If we point out to the Arab leaders the importance of peace, they will answer, ‘Yes, we want peace, but we want peace with justice.’ This way of thinking is totally unrealistic, for it is a fact that peace does not on its own bring justice. Peace only opens the door to opportunities, and the desired justice is achieved only by availing of those opportunities. We learn this principle from the ultimate outcome of the Hudaybiyyah Pact, which I referred to earlier. It must be remembered that the Prophet Muhammad followed this Hudaybiyyah principle throughout his life.

Source: The True Face of Islam

Just as it is a fact that world peace is the greatest need of our time, it is also a fact that world peace cannot be achieved without the establishment of peace in Palestine. I wanted to discover the formula for peace in the light of the Islamic scriptures. This study brought me to the conclusion that according to the Quran, the master principle in controversial matters is that of reconciliation (sulh). (4:128) It means that peaceful settlement is the best. However, a peaceful settlement is not an easy task. It requires great wisdom, the spirit of give and take, unbiased thinking, a realistic approach, and well-wishing for all mankind.

Guided by this Quranic spirit, I discovered the first pointer, in the form of the law of diaspora. This law is mentioned in this verse of the Quran, ‘O my people! Enter the holy land which God has assigned to you.’ The ‘promised land’ in the Bible (Deuteronomy 1:8), is called the ‘assigned land’ (5:21) in the Quran. According to this law, any community living in diaspora enjoys the natural right to return to its original homeland. The Balfour plan, implemented in 1948, expressed exactly the same principle. But the refusal of the Arab leaders to accept it has resulted in a bloody conflict between the two groups. Now the time has finally come for a reassessment to be made by both of the parties. The Arab leaders — abandoning all kinds of violence — must accept Israel as a legitimate state, while Israel must make some kind of territorial adjustment that would be acceptable to the Arabs. It is a fact that world peace cannot be achieved without the establishment of peace in Palestine. Now the time has finally come for a reassessment to be made by both of the parties.

Source: The True Face of Islam

The Arab leaders want to establish their rule throughout the whole of Palestine, just as in the past. But this concept is based on anachronistic thinking. In ancient monarchical times, the concept of political rule was that a single individual held sway without sharing power with others. But in the age of modern democracy, the concept of power-sharing is prevalent all over the world. With this new concept, it should be entirely possible for Arab leaders to participate in the political system on the principle of democratic sharing, without exercising any independent rule of their own. This is a new opportunity that the Palestinian Arabs can avail of in the full sense, should they opt for a peaceful course of action.

A perfect kind of example exists for this kind of power-sharing. In chapter 12 of the Quran, we learn that an idolatrous king ruled Egypt during Joseph’s time. Joseph accepted a ministerial post under his kingship and continued to hold this post for a long time. This was an example of power sharing which has been approved of by the Quran.

Source: The True Face of Islam

The Palestinian Arabs are a divided nation. They are living in three regions: West Bank, Gaza and Israel. The population of Arabs in these three regions is more or less the same. The Arabs are living in peace in the two areas of West Bank and Israel. All the violence we read about in news reports is related to the region called Gaza.

Why is there this difference? The reason is that the Arabs of the West Bank and Israel have accepted practical peace, while the Arabs of Gaza are trying to establish ideal peace. History shows that practical peace is achievable at any moment, whereas ideal peace always proves the veracity of the well-known saying: the ideal cannot be achieved.

Practical peace means peace based on the status quo. In every situation, there is a status quo. If you accept this status quo, you can establish peace instantly. But, if you want to establish ideal peace, then it will amount to changing the status quo, which would necessarily lead to confrontation and fighting. The result of this fighting culture is chain war. The defeated party seeks revenge, and this sets off a series of battles, leading to revenge after revenge. When a situation of this sort takes shape, there is no end to it. This is exactly what is happening in Gaza.

The Arabs of the West Bank and Israel have accepted the formula of practical peace, albeit under compulsion. However, the result of this has been positive, and, for a long time now, they have been living in a state of normalcy in their respective areas. In contrast to this, the Arabs of Gaza are trying to establish ideal peace. What is happening in Gaza is the price of this unrealistic policy. According to the law of nature, there are only two options available: either accept practical peace and establish normalcy, or pursue ideal peace and face constant violence as its price.

Early Islam provides a historical example of this. The Prophet of Islam started his mission in 610 AD. At that time, the Arabs followed the tribal culture, due to which there was constant conflict. Islam adopted the formula of unilateral peace, which proved effective, and very soon there was peace in Arabia. When the Prophet started his mission, the Arabs turned hostile towards him. A state of war prevailed for about eighteen years between the Prophet and his opponents. After this period, the Prophet of Islam unilaterally accepted the conditions of the other party by signing the Hudaibiya Agreement.

This brought about peace between the two parties, thus throwing open the doors to all opportunities. It was by availing these opportunities that Islam easily spread throughout Arabia. This was the demonstration of practical peace.

The history of the Hudaybiyyah Agreement shows that unilateral peace is not a matter of losing, but rather a great gain. This is because it opens the door to opportunities, and opportunity is greater than everything else.

Accept practical peace and establish normalcy, or pursue ideal peace and face constant violence as its price. In the present situation, there are examples of these two methods. The Arabs of the West Bank and Israel have accepted the formula of practical peace, so they are enjoying normalcy, whereas the Arabs of Gaza are trying to achieve ideal peace, and are consequently paying its price. This is in accordance with the law of nature. When it comes to the law of nature, you have no option other than to accept it.

The formula of “establishing peace on a unilateral basis” was never repeated in the later period of Muslim history. But it was repeated under compulsion in the thirteenth century. When the Mongols destroyed the Abbasid Empire, the Muslims were so demoralized that they were not in a position to fight. So, they accepted the status quo and within less than fifty years history changed completely. About this event Philip Hitti has remarked: “The religion of Muslims conquered where their arms had failed.” Acceptance of reality is the key to success.

Source: Spirit of Islam September 2014


CPS shares spiritual wisdom to connect people to their Creator to learn the art of life management and rationally find answers to questions pertaining to life and its purpose. Subscribe to our newsletters.

Stay informed - subscribe to our newsletter.
The subscriber's email address.

leafDaily Dose of Wisdom